Not every “American Idol” mentor would ask a contestant, “How do you feel about getting a little psycho?” Then again, not every “American Idol” mentor is [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist].
Yes, “Idol” got Gaga’d on Wednesday (May 11), as the pop superstar tutored the top four contestants while they worked through material from the songbook of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
Dressed in typically grand Gaga fashion in a black leather ensemble and a blond bob wig, accentuated with a pronounced black streak and high black bangs, Gaga — her eyebrows bleached blond — looked like the spawn of Cruella de Vil and the lead character from “Pink Floyd the Wall.” She immediately made her stamp as a judge when she challenged Haley Reinhart to make her performance a little more, well, “psycho.”
With her eyes framed by an intricate black makeup job and sporting a large black dot painted on her right cheek, Gaga wasn’t there to judge, she said, but rather to be a friend. “I just want to give them senses of inspiration and confidence,” she said, “And to help them bring out what’s really special about them.”
For Reinhart, that meant drawing out her dramatic side. In her rendition of Ben E. King’s “I (Who Have Nothing),” Gaga urged her to take a deep breath before delivering the song’s defining lyric, a climactic “I love you.”
“Give them drama!” Gaga pleaded. “Give them a little Edith Piaf. Give them a little, ‘I’m crazy and I’m a laugh away from a tear.’ ” When she got her where she felt she wanted her, Gaga praised Reinhart. “She’s gonna kick so much ass, little pony!” she said.
Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina — who make up the country contingent of this year’s competition — proved slightly more difficult subjects. When she felt McCreery wasn’t properly singing into his microphone, Gaga told him, “Get right in the center of that hot dog.” (“I don’t know where Gaga was going with that,” McCreery admitted.) She then told him to treat the mic like it was his girlfriend. “She says to you, ‘If you don’t stick your tongue down my throat, we’re through, OK?’ ” Gaga instructed Scotty to imagine. “So you keep your mouth on that microphone if your life depends on it or that bitch is gonna leave you.”
For his part, McCreery didn’t know what to make of Gaga. “I knew going into it, it would be interesting,” he said. “I don’t think I was prepared for how interesting it was.” McCreery said he felt like he needed to kiss his cross when they were through; Gaga apologized for pushing his boundaries, but said she “just wanted to open him up a bit.”
Getting Alaina to open up was another obstacle. The teen had chosen to sing Elvis Presley’s “Trouble,” but balked at a line in the song that would require to say, “I’m evil.” Gaga was the first person on the show to treat Alaina like a young woman and not a little girl. “Listen, you’re not a kid, you’re 16,” she told her. She then asked her to inhabit the character of the song rather than getting tripped up by any particular lyrics. And when she finally got Alaina to accept the line, Gaga told her, “At the end of the day, the word ‘evil’ is not that big a deal, is it?’
The Elvis theme came back around during Gaga’s mentoring of James Durbin, when she recommended Durbin swivel his hips like the King. “Get in your body a little more,’ she suggested, and when he didn’t immediately comply, she stood behind him, her hands on his hips, and moved them herself. “When you move those hips, you look sexy,” she told him, encouraging him to shake his money-maker all over the “Idol” stage.
With her appearance on the singing show, Gaga became “Idol” ‘s topic of conversation for the second week in a row. Last week, Reinhart’s decision to perform the not-yet-commercially-available “You and I,” caused much controversy at the judging table. Credit Interscope Records head honcho and “Idol” mentor Jimmy Iovine for helping to turn “Idol” into a platform for one of his biggest artists, whose high-profile new album Born This Way is due May 23.
What did you think of Gaga as the “Idol” mentor? Let us know in the comments!
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